Saturday, November 29, 2008

Retail Sales Up +3%: What Happened to The Worst Economy Since the Great Depression?

Waco, Texas -- "Shoppers out in droves for Black Friday despite weakening economy." Waco shoppers Friday gave Scrooge the boot and thumbed their noses at a bad economy as they filled parking lots and even did some good-natured shoving as they entered stores en masse.

Nov. 29 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. holiday retail sales increased 3% yesterday from a year earlier, the smallest gain for a “Black Friday” in three years.


MP: Isn't it interesting how the media reported the 3% increase in Black Friday sales? It got variously described as "consumers thumbing their noses at a bad economy," the "smallest gain in three years," "positive for merchants," and "lukewarm."

Since we're supposedly in the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, it's suprising that Black Friday sales are up at all, and surprising that sales are expected to increase by 2.2% in 2008, close behind the 2.4% last year when the economy supposedly was not on the verge of falling into the Great Depression (see table above)? What gives? Shouldn't any increase be considered good news?

9 Comments:

At 11/29/2008 8:20 PM, Blogger bobdobalino said...

yea, and i bet no one was using credit cards. probably paying for all those purchases with gold coins.

 
At 11/29/2008 9:36 PM, Blogger moonlightcowboy said...

It will be interesting to see how the rest of the shopping season holds up. I've read that upscale stores weren't as fortunate, while discount stores racked up. And, that's probably an indication that shoppers are spending their money smartly and taking full advantage of the Black Friday discounts. With only 26 days remaining, we'll see if the spark holds up.

 
At 11/30/2008 12:31 AM, Blogger oldwhiteandpoor said...

Economic downturns don't happen overnight, just as the Great Depression did not arrive overnight.

There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, but not for months or years.

 
At 11/30/2008 3:07 AM, Blogger bobble said...

are these numbers adjusted for inflation?

if not, they indicate a poor start to the holiday shopping season.

 
At 11/30/2008 10:56 AM, Blogger bix1951 said...

Americans are addicted to shopping. Most people spend all they can no matter what.
And they watch Dancing With The Stars not the news.
"WAR IS PEACE"
PROSPERITY IS DEPRESSION?
Orwellian world we live in

 
At 12/01/2008 6:40 AM, Blogger karsten said...

Indeed bix1951, it is as a friend of mine says, "America is not at war, the military is at war. America is at the mall."

 
At 12/01/2008 7:13 AM, Blogger 1 said...

"There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, but not for months or years"...

What have you heard or read oldwhiteandpoor?...

Is Obama actually going to raise taxes on the productive thereby putting more people out of work?

"are these numbers adjusted for inflation?"...

How come this question isn't directed to the folks at the CNN or the National Retail Federation bobble?

 
At 12/01/2008 9:20 AM, Blogger RebelRenegade said...

bobble> what inflation?


OT: I see you turned anon comments off. Now I actually have to sign in!!!!

 
At 12/01/2008 9:30 AM, Blogger RebelRenegade said...

The Big Picture blog has a counterpoint to the "sales up 3%" headline.

http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2008/12/spinning-black-friday-retail-sales/

In short, it's nothing more than a survey of shoppers, not actual sales data.

He also states that ComScore (online retail sales) is a better predictor and it's up a "mere" 1%.

Of course, that's amazing since we're now in the Worst Economic Crisis Since the Great Depression™ isn't it?

 

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